Parkway history digital project funded by State Library of NC!

Parkway history digital project funded by State Library of NC!

(Originally posted on Virtual Blue Ridge’s Blue Ridge Parkway Blog, June 24, 2009)

I’m delighted to announce that a new digital publishing project I’ve been working on with colleagues at the Carolina Digital Library and Archives (part of the UNC-Chapel Hill Library system) has been funded (to the tune of $150,000 total over two years) by the State Library of North Carolina under a federal grant program established under the Library Services and Technology Act.

The project will be called “Driving through Time: The Digital Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina” and will be based on the research that I did for Super-Scenic Motorway. I’ll be serving as the scholarly advisor for the undertaking, which will be coordinated by Natasha Smith at the Library. The project will build on some of the technologies developed for the Library’s other GIS-based projects, including “Going to the Show” dnd “North Carolina Maps“. We’ll begin work July 1, 2009!

Here is a blurb about the project, taken from the grant application we submitted:

“‘Driving through Time’ will present an innovative, visually- and spatially-based model for documenting the twentieth-century history of a seventeen-county section of he North Carolina mountains.

The project will feature historic maps, photographs, postcards, government documents, and newspaper clippings, each of which will be assigned geographic coordinates so that it can be viewed on a map, enabling users to visualize and analyze the impact of the Blue Ridge Parkway on the people and landscape in western North Carolina.

Primary sources will be drawn from the collections of the UNC-Chapel Hill University Library, the Blue Ridge Parkway Headquarters, and the North Carolina State Archives. These materials are especially significant in that they document one of North Carolina’s most popular tourist attractions, but also in the way that they help to illuminate the way that the Blue Ridge Parkway transformed the communities through which it passed.

In addition to the digitized primary sources, the project will include scholarly analyses of aspects of the development of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, and an educational component designed for K-12 teachers and students.

Using digital technologies to open a new window on the history of the Parkway and its region is especially timely considering the approach of the Parkway’s 75th anniversary in 2010 and the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary in 2016.

This project is certain to be a valuable and popular resource for millions of tourists as well as for teachers, students, and historians, both within North Carolina and beyond.”

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